Chisom Jenniffer Okoye and Anastasi Mokgobu
2 minute read
4 Sep 2019
6:05 am

Nigerian groups call for respect for all people in SA

Chisom Jenniffer Okoye and Anastasi Mokgobu

The president of Nicasa, Ben Okoli, condemned the violence and said he believed society was avoiding criminal issues caused by its own people.

Nigerian Citizens Association SA president Ben Okoli, left, and CANSAF National chairperson Archbishop Benson Uwha pray after briefing media in Johannesburg, 3 September 2019, with Nigerian Citizens Association South Africa with Coaliation of Nigerian bodies to address the public on the ongoing attacks on foreign nationals. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

While the Nigerian Citizen Association South Africa (Nicasa) called on the government to act and respect all people who reside in South Africa, regardless of their nationality, the Nigerian Embassy said its government was enraged and would be sending a special envoy to engage with the South African government.

The president of Nicasa, Ben Okoli, condemned the violence and said he believed society was avoiding criminal issues caused by its own people and attacking foreigners for crimes, including the selling of drugs.

He also said contrary to popular opinion, the murder of a taxi driver in Pretoria’s CBD was not carried out by a Nigerian.

“There hasn’t been any statement from the police to confirm that a Nigerian man is responsible for the murder and the information we received proves that there was an argument between a taxi driver, the police and a Tanzanian man. We aren’t responsible for killing him,” Okoli said.

Nicasa deputy secretary-general Dr SJ Uba echoed his colleague’s sentiments and said “the Nigerian community calls for strict observation of rights of all individuals, including non-nationals, to equality, dignity and the security of their person, lives and property”.

“The government should ensure that the acts of xenophobic attacks are investigated and that persons who incited and perpetrated the attacks are brought to justice to end the lack of accountability that feeds the cycle of xenophobic attacks.

“We urge political parties, politicians, community leaders and individuals to restrain from statements that fuel division and incite violence against non-nationals.”

Nigerian foreign service officer Lauren Jingina said “[the violence] needs to be condemned unequivocally by all well-meaning human beings.

“The government needs to take decisive action to make sure that this doesn’t recur.

“The Nigerian government is taking this seriously. The minister of foreign affairs has angrily condemned the attacks as ‘sickening’ and one too many. We are compiling a list of losses suffered by our nationals and intend to press for compensation. The president will be sending a special envoy to take up the matter with the South African government,” said Jingina.

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